March 1, 2013

Homemade Crusty Bread Using a Dutch Oven

After my husband and I were married my mother-in-law gave me a bread machine. I have never made bread before and had always bought it from the store. The first couple of loaves that I made turned out okay, not great. Then I finally found my groove and made approximately two loaves a week. Eventually the bread machine broke and I decided that instead of buying a new one I would make my bread by hand. I fell in love with hand made loaves. The texture and shape were so different and there is something so therapeutic about kneading bread. Today I modified a new recipe for Homemade Crusty Bread to be baked in dutch oven for a perfect crust.

The recipe I modified has 4 ingredients. It takes 4 hours of total time, a half an hour of which is active and makes 12 servings. I made a number of modifications to the original recipes. First I did not use a mixer to make my dough. Instead I kneaded my dough by hand for a total of 8 minutes. I combined the flour, salt and yeast and then added the water and stirred using a plastic spatula. Then I kneaded the dough. I followed the rests the same as the recipe. However, instead of two loaves I made one large loaf. For the cooking of the bread, I pre-heated a dutch oven at 425 degrees for a 1/2 hour during the breads final rise. Then I put the bread in the dutch oven, put on the lid and let it bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I took off the lid and let it cook for an additional 15 minutes.

The crust on this bread turned out perfect. My boys and husband loved it. It would be great for grilled cheese sandwiches or just with butter.  Using the dutch oven was perfect for making a great crust, but if you don't have one the steam method used in the recipe would be an alternative. Overall a great recipe that I would definitely use again.

For the recipe go to Homemade Crusty Bread.
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